My take on the Master (film)

I think, after viewing it a second time, now on DVD, that its a brilliant work of art by Paul Thomas Anderson- the writing, the acting, the sets, the cinematography. The mostly successful portrayal of LRH’s beingness by Philip Seymour Hoffman.
It didn’t have broad box-office appeal, because you pretty much have to have been in AND out of Scn to appreciate all the references and scenes – for example, Joaquin Phoenix’s (altered) Op Pro by Dup session, or knowing that the Master is “auditing” Freddie using OCA questions.

Paul Thomas Anderson actually did years of homework in making this movie, according to interviews I have read. His own parents were good friends with people who actually moved from Philly to Phoenix to study with LRH in 1954. And he studied a lot of the early newsletters of Scientologists from those years. 

But as I watched it again, I got that the filmmaker also is portraying the whole history of the C of S and how it went off the rails, even though its supposedly all in the fifties – look at the Mary Sue character – by the end she is the perfect “cold, chrome steel” CMO type – demanding a billion yr contract – and total no-sympathy – that ain’t just Mary Sue being portrayed there!

I think the Joaquin Phoenix character is a brilliant composite, as well – representing David Miscavige and his whole ilk – look at the elements – basically a thug who throws violent tantrums, can’t leave the Hootch alone, beats people up to “defend” LRH – which grossly discredits everything LRH stands for – then, in one of the last sex scenes, is using what little tech he has learned for sexual advantage – just as any real SP might do.

LRH is portrayed as an extraordinary man, and a lot of his truths shine through, as does his astounding compassion, as well as his flaws. Seeing him portrayed like this has helped me in my own decompression process from the cult, but does not diminish in the slightest my appreciation for the tech he codified.

A glib comment is that this is the movie version of the Lawrence Wright book – but the movie is a lot more fun, for those who have been there.


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